Most of us assume that a left-handed person must use left-handed clubs and the same for right-handed.
But in truth, there are both natural left-handed swings and what I like to call unnatural left-handed swings. That is a right-handed golfer doing a left-handed golf swing with a left-handed club.
But how does a right-handed golfer do a left-handed golf swing, and why would they want to?
Completing a successful left-handed golf swing has the same elements of a successful right-handed swing, merely reflected: One hand below the other on the golf shaft grip, a wind up (starting at 11 o’clock), swing, strike (6 o’clock), and follow-through with eyes on the ball from beginning to end (1 o’clock).
We use the same concepts for new left-handed golfers to learn a basic golf swing as we use for right-handed golf swings.
So, if you’re a left-handed golfer looking to learn how to swing, this will apply to you as well. Let’s get out on the course with this, shall we?
Left Handed Golf Swing For Beginners In 7 Steps
Whether you’re a right-handed golfer trying to learn some trick shots or a left-handed golfer trying to get your swing down, this guide will work for you.
Let’s start with the basics and go over our left-hand swing.
1. Positioning For The Golf Swing – Address Or Setup
The first thing to set up your golf swing, whether it’s a left-hand or right-hand swing, is to stand with your feet comfortably shoulder-width apart.
Both toes ought to form a line that, when extended, points to the target direction you want the ball to travel.
For each type of shot, there will be a different position of the ball.
The ball should be positioned comfortably in front of you so that your swing aligns with the ball position.
But where should the ball be exactly?
Let’s discuss the lie angle of the club for a moment.
When a club-head is set parallel to the ground (in the ideal ball-striking position), you will notice that the shaft and grip come up from the head at an angle.
Golf club heads are never at 90 degrees to the shaft; they are on a slight angle.
This angle is known as the lie angle.
When holding your club comfortably at the height of the grass or turf, the ball placement distance is from the imaginary line formed by connecting your toes to the same as the position the club head will sit in front of you when held in the proper lie angle.
It’s usually around 8″ to a foot or more, depending on the club and your height/length of the golf club shaft.
All four of the positions listed below remain along this imaginary path parallel to your feet.
Next, you will position the ball either center position between your feet or closer to your leading foot.
I like to think of basically four positions for the ball:
Center between your toes. Use this position for 8, 9 short irons, and wedges.
About 1.5 golf ball widths from position one, towards the leading foot. Use this position for mid-length irons 5, 6, and 7.
About three golf ball widths from position one, towards the leading foot. Use this position for long irons 3 and 4 and long fairway woods.
About 4.5 golf ball widths from position one, towards the leading foot. Use this position for the driver.
2. Backswing (Around 11 O’Clock)
The backswing is the first part of the club rotation.
After we’ve set up the ball and stance positioning, the club is brought up and around the back and neck. The leading arm will be nearly straight with a jointed wrist.
As you begin to bring the club around, you should tuck your trailing arm elbow closer to the body to avoid too steep a rotation.
See our article on Shallow Golf Swings to understand what I’m getting into here with tucking in that elbow.
3. Downswing Through First Horizontal Position (9 O’Clock)
As your swing rounds the nine o’clock position, your arms should be leading with the club trailing along the rotational swing path.
It would be best if you didn’t think of swinging the club (like one thinks of swinging a baseball bat). Think of it more like a whip where you are pulling the club behind your swinging arms.
At the nine o’clock position, the golf club will be horizontal to the Earth while your arms will be leading slightly.
In a right-handed swing, this position is equivalent to the follow-through part 1 mentioned below.
4. Strike the Ball (6 O’Clock)
The next phase of the swing is the ball strike.
Head down, eyes on the ball, and your arms should be pulling the club along at the point where the strike occurs.
Never let your eyes leave the ball as your body moves to lead just ahead of the clubhead. Remember to keep that head down.
Try practicing swinging while never moving your gaze from the ground where the ball is. Repeat many times until it’s ingrained in your mind.
5. Follow Through Part 1 – Swing Through Second Horizontal Position (3 O’Clock)
Shortly after the strike, carrying on with the swing is our follow-through segment.
The first part of this segment is the stage where the club is again parallel with the Earth.
This stage is equivalent to a right-handed swing’s downstage horizontal position mentioned earlier.
Again the eyes should be glued to the ball, and in this stage, the arms are still moving ahead of the shaft, dragging the clubhead along its path like a whip.
The trailing foot lifts and the upper body turns toward the ball’s motion direction.
6. Follow Through Part 2 (Around 12 O’Clock)
The upper body is now completely turned and facing the ball in the distance. The trailing foot is nearly off the ground, and pivoting on the leading foot occurs.
The club continues on its trajectory, now swinging up and around the 12 o’clock position. Eyes must maintain contact with the ball.
7. Follow Through Part 3 – The Finish (Chase The Ball)
The swing’s final stage is the short slowing to stop of the last leg of the swing’s follow-through.
Full upper body rotation occurs at this stage, and you should now be facing the ball’s direction with a slightly twisted torso.
Weight is on the leading foot, and the trailing foot heel is entirely off the ground, using the ball of the foot for balance.
Your eyes should never leave the ball’s final location. Remembering to maintain eye contact with the ball is one of the most challenging tasks for a new golfer.
Try Not To Slice It
If you’re right-handed, then you know that hitting a left-handed club and shot isn’t that easy.
Your right hand will want to dominate the swing. It will pull the club, causing the face to be slightly off, making perfect slicing conditions.
Once you’ve got your left-handed swing away from the slicing zone, you can keep practicing to hone in your posture and make your swing incredible.
The following video from Twitter – @PGATour has a great drill to help maintain body posture.
The drill is shown for right-hand but will work all the same if reflected for left-handed golfers.
Three Tips For Improving Your Left Hand Swing
- Practice Swinging Both Directions
- Drag And Pull, Don’t Swing And Push
- Focus On Posture
Practice Swinging Both Ways
Many golfers lose sight of the fact that continually swinging in one direction can train the body to become almost too comfortable with the movements and forget proper posture.
It can also lead to injury by repeatedly asymmetrically using only specific muscles.
An excellent technique to counter these issues is to practice your swing both in right and left-handed postures.
Remember that the three and nine o’clock positions of each swing are reflections of each other. The only difference is the rotation and hand positioning.
By practicing both right and left, it tunes the mind to pay more attention to all components’ proper positioning during the golf swing process.
Drag And Pull, Don’t Swing And Push
Many golfers make the mistake of hinging the leading arm’s wrist outward when in the downswing.
It causes the clubface to be too open, and either the ball goes flying off to one side, or we try to make a subconscious correction before the strike, causing the club to now to catch up with the arms and lose it’s whipping action.
Maintaining proper lead wrist bend is vital to dragging and pulling the club through the swing path, rather than swing and push the club through its path.
Using a whip-like-analogy allows us to understand how we can increase power and speed by taking advantage of physics and the whip-like motion of dragging the club through its rotation instead of pushing it.
Focus On Posture
When golfers start, whether left-hand swing or not, we tend to focus on trying to hit the ball. I mean, what new golfer doesn’t want to hit the ball and make good contact. But this is something that winds up hurting the new golfers more than helping them.
One of the best pieces of advice I received was to focus on my posture before I focused on making contact.
When you work out your posture and ensure your swing is right, keeping your eyes on the ball, not too steep, but not over-shallow, and so forth, you’ll notice that you naturally hit the ball without issue.
But trying to focus on the contact is distracting from learning the proper body movement and posture.
The last note on posture reminds me of something from the old movie Field of Dreams with Kevin Costner.
In the movie (albeit a baseball film), there is a line: ‘If you build it, they will come’.
This line reminds me of proper posture in golf. If you have good posture for your swing, you’ll hit the ball and make good contact.
So, focus on your posture, and the excellent swing will follow.